Unreported bycatch in the New Zealand West Coast South Island hoki fishery
There are recognised benefits to managing fisheries by individual transferable quotas (ITQs), but ITQs may increase incentives to discard fish. Trawl data from government-observed trawlers in the New Zealand hoki fishery were used to predict catches of unobserved vessels. These predictions were compared with the catches unobserved vessels reported. Unobserved vessels' reported catches were significantly different to observed vessels' catches. There was clear evidence of misreporting in the hoki fishery. Misreporting deprives stakeholders of rentals, distorts catch statistics, and threatens the integrity of ITQ systems. If reporting is similarly biased in other fisheries, the issue cannot be safely ignored.
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